Thanks for your emails and prayers. I have truly been blessed to have you as my family, I can't thank you enough. I love talking about what my family does at Christmas and holidays to others here. And to be able to testify how the gospel has blessed my family is always hearfelt and true.
The fancy thing I did this week was attend a ward council "get together", aka have a catered dinner in a mansion. They served us appetizers, then basil chicken, steak tips on a stick, samon, rolls, fancy potatoes, fancy flourless chocolate cake thing with cream sauce on top, etc. I felt like I was at a wedding. Everyone here is so successful. You have to be to afford it! And yet, you wouldn't think we would find people to teach---wrong!!!
This week alone we had many miracles. First, after seraching through the area book and finding a name and address but no other record about one person, we decided to stop by. I was on exchanged when this happened, but SIster Olsen told me what happened. This woman answered the door and said right away "You're Mormons." After a pleasant conversation, learned her family had JUST moved in 3 weeks before. They took a Christmas pamphlet and said we could come back. So the next day when Sister Olsen and I were back together, we took a member and went to their house. Turns out it was a family of 7. Only 6 lived there, but still, how cool that big of a family let us in. The husband is Jewish and the wife grew up southern baptist. But they had us sit around their table and talk. We just wanted to get a feel for how interested they were, and when we invited them to church the husband said they would like to see one of our services. They are going to talk and consider learning from us this week. PLEASE PRAY HARD FOR THEM. They would be such a wonderful addition to our ward and such awesome people, totally searching. They are new and looking for community as well.
Also, miracles of visiting our members. As soon as we come over, they are like "sit down sisters, we have some people to talk about." and they launch right into referrals. Recently our stake presidents were taught by area 70 to have"moral authority", which means you cant just stand up at the pulpit begging members to share the gospel, you have to be able to say "look what happened to me" so now they (the stake presidents) all have to write and email and report to the area 70 about their personal missionary experiences---weekly! And that is trickling down to the stake presidencies reporting to the stake presidents,etc. We happen to have a member of the stake presidency in our ward so he is all fired up and ready to help us now that he is having experiences. Our area 70 told us about this at last weeks zone conference, it's so exciting, the stories we have heard are incredible. The area 70 asked us as full time missionaries to help members know how to pray for opportunities. Some of our members are finding families! I love Alamo!!
Ok, speaking of zone conference, the time we spent with the area 70 was the highlight for sure. Before he even started, he just walked around the room and walked right up to random sisters and elders and asked them where they were from and what they wanted to do with their life. He just got to know us before he ministered to us. Such a great example of love and leadership! He says its always best if you ask someone 15 things about themselves before you get them to listen to you. So then he told us about his childhood, and he brought in a larg bag of marbles. He said he was the marble champion, but one day at school the marbles all spilled out of his pockets, and he got in trouble. So his mother made him a drawstring bag. He said usually we can help all our scattered problems with one thing. In this case, it is the Book of Mormon. He challenged us to study the questions of the soul more, and how we can answer them with the Book of Mormon. The Book of Mormon is like the drawstring bag. I don't know if I typed that right or if that made sense, but basically use the Book of Mormon more to help people resolve their concerns(the marbles). Then he taught us about moral authority, and what our own stake leaders were doing to share the gospel. And he didn't say it, but it was clear from the Spirit that that is how we ourselves help people into the gospel. Love them and invite them, share experiences, not just talk at them. Same with us also working with members, help them share the gospel by loving them and saying look at what we are doing, not convincing them. It was so so good. I had been feeling stressed the entire conference, which made me a bit sad seeing as it was my last zone conference. I was stressed with constantly having to last minute play the piano for everything, including multiple special musical numbers, and also giving a training 3 times. So to have such inspiration from a leader was so uplifting. Part of the reason I know this is God's church is by the fruits of the leadership. How can they not be men of God?